I biked over to the far west side to visit the business of an immigrant I know. She works hard and has a complicated personal life which she reviews with me when I come by. She is pretty successful at what she does. Still, her work is tedious and she likes to pause and talk about men, relationships and the American way. She is from Laos.
I, too, am an immigrant. I hold on to this identity. I never forget about it.
I wanted at one time to be an immigration law specialist. I know far too much from personal experience what it’s like to seek work here, legally, illegally, quasi-legally. I know what it’s like to get hired under the table and not get benefits. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
But in the end I hadn’t the fiber for it. Handling custody battles seemed more cheery than handling deportation issues. Two parents fighting to spend time with a child. How nice. A person facing expulsion. Leave, or be jailed. Either way, go back to your family and tell them you failed.
The neighborhood I live is on one side student-ish, and on three sides immigrant-ish.
I rode out on Mr. B to do my stuff out there on the west side and, as I was leaving my neighborhood, I came face to face with the demonstration of Latino people, hundreds of them, walking back from the Capitol, asking, with their banners and their faces, for recognition and acceptance.
I claimed American citizenship when I had recognition and acceptance. I was already in law school, I had a family, I knew I would find work. My commie past was forgiven, I had a spot here. I did not have to face my family and tell them I had failed.
The images below... they bring forth a wealth of sadness in me that I cannot begin to explain.